NAR Antitrust Settlement in Houston, Texas: 3 Key Takeaways


The recent National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Antitrust Settlement has brought significant changes that all realtors in Houston need to understand to continue serving their clients effectively. As an attorney deeply engaged in this matter, I’m here to break down the three key takeaways from this settlement that you should know.

1. Buyer's Representation Agreements are Now Mandatory in Houston

One of the most significant changes resulting from the NAR Antitrust Settlement is the mandate for real estate agents in Houston to enter into written agreements with buyers before showing them properties. This requirement has long been encouraged but making it mandatory is a change. Having a written agreement is helpful in providing clarity and transparency in real estate transactions.

From mid-July 2024 onwards, MLS participants working with buyers in Houston must have a written agreement in place before the buyer tours a home. This agreement serves to outline the scope of services provided by the agent and the terms of compensation. By formalizing these arrangements in writing, both parties can better understand their rights and responsibilities, leading to smoother transactions and clearer expectations.

As a realtor in Houston, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the details of these buyer representation agreements and ensure compliance with this new rule. While not required, it would be prudent to include certain provisions to protect yourself and your business. Such provisions include the scope of services provided and not provided, the duration of the agreement, the compensation terms clearly outlined, provisions for termination and renewal, and procedures for resolving disputes in accordance with the law. These provisions can further clarify expectations and enhance the overall effectiveness of the agreement.

Moreover, you can use the buyer representation agreement as an opportunity to educate your clients about the home-buying process, including potential risks and obligations. By fostering open communication and transparency from the outset, realtors in Houston can build trust and strengthen their client relationships, ultimately leading to more successful transactions.

2. Changes to Advertising Broker Commissions in Houston

Another significant aspect of the NAR Antitrust Settlement is the prohibition on advertising broker commissions in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Houston. While offers of compensation can still be made, they must occur off the MLS platform.

This change aims to promote transparency and competition in the real estate market in Houston by ensuring that commission rates are not displayed prominently alongside property listings. Instead, buyers and sellers can negotiate compensation terms directly with their agents, fostering a more dynamic and flexible marketplace.

For realtors in Houston accustomed to advertising commission rates on the MLS, this adjustment may require a shift in marketing strategies. However, it presents an opportunity to engage clients in meaningful conversations about the value of your services and the flexibility of commission structures.

3. Conspicuous Disclosure of Commission Negotiability in Houston

In light of the NAR Antitrust Settlement, realtors in Houston must also take proactive steps to educate their clients about the negotiability of commissions. While this has always been the case, the settlement emphasizes the importance of making this information clear and conspicuous.

As a realtor in Houston, you should communicate to your clients that commissions are not set by law and are entirely negotiable between brokers and their clients. This disclosure should be made upfront, ensuring that buyers and sellers understand their ability to negotiate commission rates as part of the transaction process.

By providing this information transparently and prominently, you empower your clients in Houston to make informed decisions and advocate for their best interests. Moreover, it reinforces trust and credibility in your professional relationships, fostering positive outcomes for all parties involved.

Learn More From a Real Estate Lawyer in Houston

The NAR Antitrust Settlement represents a significant milestone in the real estate industry in Houston, ushering in changes that impact how realtors conduct business and serve their clients. By embracing these developments and adapting your practices accordingly, you can navigate this evolving landscape with confidence and integrity.

Compliance with the new rules and regulations in Houston is essential to maintaining your reputation and safeguarding the interests of your clients. Stay informed, stay proactive, and continue delivering exceptional service as you navigate these changes in the real estate landscape.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the implications of the NAR Antitrust Settlement for your business in Houston, don’t hesitate to reach out! Simple Law TX understands the unique challenges of the real estate industry in Texas. Whether you're seeking to draft comprehensive buyer representation agreements, navigate complex legal issues related to real estate transactions, or ensure compliance with new regulations stemming from the NAR Antitrust Settlement, our real estate lawyer is here to help.

Contact Simple Law TX today to schedule a consultation via our website, phone 281-697-6678, or email

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